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NGV International, ” A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930–1980s”

Denby Chevron Teapot

Melbourne based Artist John Hinds recently made a generous donation of 20th Century commercial tableware to the NGV International Melbourne which is large component of an exhibition running currently entitled “A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930s-1980s” . It runs 30th March 2018 to January 2019.

The collection began when John had amassed op-shop ceramics to construct tiered cake stands. Although they were fabulous, they sold slowly, and he finally abandoned the project. After he had cleared away the dross, remaining were about  100 boldly patterned plates (mostly English & Japanese) from the 60s & 70s. These were donated  to The Powerhouse in Sydney and you can view them online HERE

As always happens, John kept on finding more objects, and the idea grew of donating a more comprehensive collection to National Gallery of Victoria.

The first donation was mainly ceramics. Names included Broadhurst, Wedgwood, Meakin, Mikasa, Midwinter, Arabia, Denby, Hornsea, Langley, Rosenthal and Portmeirion.

John worked on adding to the collection by amassing pieces from an alphabetical list of well known International Designers. Names such as Gerald Benney (UK) Susie Cooper (UK) Stig Lindberg (Sweden) Raymond Loewy (USA) David Mellor (UK) Keith Murray (NZ-UK) Jens Quistgaad (Denmark) Robert Welch (UK) Russel Wright (USA) and Eva Zeisel (USA).

Decorative Arts collections in most Australian museums until now have concentrated on the aristocratic and the rare, and none had a comprehensive survey of post war Modern Design – in particular tableware design.

The time had come to change this John believed, and with the collaboration of the NGV which is now more focused on design, and curator Amanda Dunsmore, the idea for the exhibition was developed with enthusiasm.

The result is this exhibition which provides an timely overview of  Modern Tableware Design, 1930s to 1980s.

NGV International, ” A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930–1980s

NGV International, ” A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930–1980s

NGV International, ” A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930–1980s

Display NGV International, ” A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930–1980s

You can preview more of the items presented in the NGV Exhibition HERE


From the NGV website:

“The period following the Second World War witnessed enormous changes in society…… A more optimistic outlook following the grimness of the war years saw a reaction against enforced functionalist austerity with an embrace of bold colour and pattern in the home. This exhibition illustrates the growing engagement with modern design by commercial manufacturers, charting the application of technical innovations in production and decorative techniques in pursuit of commercially competitive products.

The exhibition features works from the 1930s to the 1980s from leading manufacturers and designers across Britain, America, Japan and continental Europe. Whilst focusing on ceramics, the exhibition also explores the use of new materials ……including plastic, aluminium and stainless steel. Graphic design and advertising from the period form a feature of the show”

There is an also excellent essay on the development of 20th Century tableware design written by Amanda Dunsmore and Matthew Martin HERE

Display NGV International, ” A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930–1980s

Sitg Lindberg “Bersa” Display NGV International, ” A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930–1980s


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